Coming up

Don't miss




Coverage of the plane crash that took 116 lives - almost half of them French

Read more


Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more


Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more


Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more


Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more


Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more


French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more


Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

  • Live: ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more


Gambia's Bensouda unanimously elected to head ICC

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-12-13

Member states of the International Criminal Court on Monday unanimously elected Gambia's Fatou Bensouda, a former justice minister, to be new chief prosecutor. Bensouda, currently the ICC's deputy prosecutor, will replace Luis Moreno-Ocampo in June.

AFP - International Criminal Court member states on Monday unanimously elected Fatou Bensouda of Gambia as the new chief prosecutor for the main genocide and war crimes tribunal.

The post has become more prominent with the growth of international criminal justice over the past decade and Bensouda vowed to keep up pressure on leaders who order killings and violate rights.

Bensouda, a former justice minister in Gambia, is currently the ICC deputy prosecutor. She will take over next June from Luis Moreno-Ocampo who sought the genocide warrant against Sudan's Omar al-Bashir and crimes against humanity case against late Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

The new prosecutor was elected by consensus at the annual meeting of the ICC's 120 state parties at the UN headquarters. Bensouda said she was particularly proud of the support given by Africa.

But she said her African origin would not affect her role as the prosecutor.

"Let me stress: I will be the prosecutor of all the states parties in an independent and impartial manner," she told the meeting.

"I don't think any of us can deny that the crimes, the atrocities that are happening in Africa are crimes," she told reporters later. "We will target the perpetrators of the crimes."

All of the ICC's formal investigations are in Africa but many of the continent's leaders say Africa is unfairly targeted and an African Union summit this year decided not to carry out warrants issued against African leaders.

Bensouda called the ICC, set up by the 2002 Rome statute, "a truly unique institution."

She said the court was "changing international relations forever."

Bensouda will face immediate challenges with Bashir still no closer to answering the charges against him over the conflict in Darfur. She must also handle a sensitive case over whether Seif al-Islam, the son of Kadhafi, is tried in Libya or at the ICC in The Hague.

Bensouda was one of 52 candidates interviewed for the post. African nations had pressed for Bensouda's appointment, however, and many analysts have expressed the hope that her nomination will increase the tribunal's acceptance on the continent.

In a speech to the meeting, Botswana's President Ian Khama hit out at African leaders who refuse to cooperate with the tribunal, saying it put the continent "on the wrong side of history."

Khama particularly criticized an African Union summit decision in June to oppose arrest warrants issued for Kadhafi and other African leaders.

"This decision is a serious setback in the battle against impunity in Africa and undermines efforts to confront war crimes and crimes against humanity which are committed by some leaders on the continent," Khama said.

"Such a move also places Africa on the wrong side of history. It is a betrayal of the innocent and helpless victims of such crimes."

"We need to have the political will and the moral courage to hold accountable, without fear or favor, anyone in authority -- including a sitting head of state -- when he or she is suspected of having committed crimes against innocent people," Khama said.

Outgoing prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo said the court's independence could not be taken for granted.

"National or parochial interests are providing incentives to control the court. Reality has demonstrated that the office's independent decisions have triggered conflicts of interests for states," he told the meeting.

"Leaders who are using crimes to retain power have criticized the court and managed to mobilize some international support to this end."

Moreno-Ocampo said there was a second risk of attempts to "blackmail" the court.

"Reality shows that some of the leaders sought by the court threatened to commit more crimes to retain power, blackmailing the international community with a false option: peace or justice. The efficiency of the court will depend on how political leaders and conflict managers react to such blackmail," he said.

Date created : 2011-12-13


    Gambia's Fatou Bensouda poised to lead ICC

    Read more

  • Ivory Coast

    Former Ivorian strongman Gbagbo faces ICC judges

    Read more

  • Sudan

    ICC mulls warrant request for Sudanese minister

    Read more